Shifting role of internal communication in an age of turbulence/disruption
Organisations have gone through drastic functional and cultural changes for the past decade. These changes undoubtedly have become evident during the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic workplace. As the labour market slowly comes out of the 2-year-long pandemic brought on by COVID-19, remote work, zoom fatigues, and no work/home boundaries have led to increased burnout and desire for employees to sit back from their work while recovering from the psychological and physical tolls they took on their health and well-being. Additionally, the threat of slow economic growth and unstable labour market have made many organisational managements anxious about the rise of dissatisfied, disengaged employees and high turnover rates with generational conflicts in the workplace.
Related to this changing workplace dynamics and employee expectations and needs, internal communicators are increasingly faced with challenges and technological advancement while tasked with creating a shared identity and culture across an ever more diverse workforce. These challenges include but are not limited to creating a shared sense of community among employees across geographic locations, modes of workplace (hybrid, in-person, and remote), and demographic differences, using organisational communication to increase job and organisation engagement from employees, and enhancing commitment and loyalty of employees.
According to Gallup’s 2022 report on State of the Global Workplace, employee stress is at an all-time high and employee engagement and well-being are stable yet still low. More than 40% of surveyed employees indicated feeling stressed at work, and only about one-third reported a general sense of well-being. Still, only 21% of survey respondents reported feeling engaged at work.
The generational gap persists in terms of their workplace experiences and expectations. Forbes (Greg Pryor, Sep 12, 2019) reported that up to five generations now exist in many workplaces. As baby boomers are nearing retirement and preparing for their exit from the workplace, Gen X and older Millennials are rising to leadership positions, and Gen Z-ers have begun entering the workforce, some right out of college.
By 2025, millennials will make up nearly 75% of the global workforce, with many in executive leadership positions. With the rise of millennials in the workplace, there will be a higher level of demand for organisational transparency, a marker of MZ Generation employees’ characteristics. This multi-level generational presence in the workplace means considerable shifts and changes in traditional approaches to leadership, employee engagement, and organisational culture, as expectations in employee-organisation relationships are concurrently changing. As Gen Z enters the workforce, organisations must strive to help new employees be incorporated into the organisational culture by understanding the motivators and needs of Gen Z employees. Gen Z-ers are worried about social issues and would like to get personally involved in social issues. Organisations’ CSR initiatives can activate the passion and drive of Gen Z employees by listening to social issues that their employees care about and inviting them to be part of organisational CSR initiatives.
Work Institute’s 2022 Retention Report revealed that many employees’ root causes of voluntary departure were multifaceted in that while better pay still mattered but not as much as other reasons such as career development, health, family, or work-life balance. In attracting and retaining top talents, organisations can no longer rely on monetary incentives and must understand the complexity of the employee-organisation relationships in the contemporary workforce. No longer, internal communication is to be considered as a top-down, information-relaying function, primarily driven by program outputs rather than strategies focused on objective-driven impacts on employee engagement, job satisfaction, well-being, commitment, and participatory and diverse culture. The cruciality of excellent communication in creating a diverse, participatory, purposeful, and engaging organisation is beckoning scholars and practitioners to harness the power of internal communication in meeting some ongoing and newly emerging challenges.
The aims of this special issue will be on exploring, understanding, and proposing new and renewed approaches and perspectives regarding the functions of internal communication in addressing ongoing and newly emerging challenges that organisations are facing post COVID-19 pandemic.
Potential topics of interest to the special issue are:
- how do you build and maintain a strong organisational culture with employees working in different environments
- how do employers provide mentoring and professional development or growth opportunities for employees working remotely
- how do these challenges impact diversity initiatives
- the importance of employee voice and organizational listening
- internal CSR initiatives
- change management communication and sensemaking
- Employee engagement/disengagement
- Internal communication technologies/channels
- Organisational commitment/loyalty/retention
- Submission site opens: 6 February 2023
- Submission site closes (to new submissions): 6 May 2023
- Final acceptance date: October 2023
Submission Guidelines for Quick Reference:
- Text length should be 6,000-8,000 words including references
- A structured abstract with 4-7 sub-headings is required
- Please use Harvard citation style (for in-text citations, references, figures, tables)
- More detailed Emerald publishing guidelines for authors: https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/ccij#author-guidelines
- Manuscripts should be submitted under https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ccij
Full papers will receive two double-blind expert reviews. Articles will be published in CCIJ in 2024.
Questions should be directed to the Guest Editors:
Dr Marlene Neill, Baylor University, [email protected]
Dr Minjeong Kang, Indiana University, [email protected]
Gallup Institute (2022). State of The Global Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace-2022-report.aspx
Pryer, G. (2019). Generational Differences and The Shifting Workplace. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/workday/2019/09/12/generational-differences-and-the-shifting-workplace/?sh=68e3d46a53ce
Work Institute (2022). 2022 Retention Report. Retrieved from https://info.workinstitute.com/hubfs/2022%20Retention%20Report/2022%20Retention%20Report%20-%20Work%20Institute.pdf